Washington — Theclosed with a pair of speeches from two South Carolina Republicans — former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott — who painted President Trump as the candidate who will keep the American dream alive.
The two, both politicians of color, also denounced the policies and vision of Joe Biden and Democrats.
In separate remarks, Haley and Scott each drew upon their own experiences growing up in South Carolina, Haley as the daughter of Indian immigrants and Scott as a Black man whose family "went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime."
"There are millions of families like mine across this nation, full of potential seeking to live the American dream," said Scott, who closed out Monday's festivities. "And I'm here tonight to tell you that supporting the Republican ticket gives you the best chance of making that dream a reality."
The South Carolinian senator praised Mr. Trump's economic record and work on Opportunity Zones, an initiative spearheaded by Scott, as well as the president's efforts on criminal justice reform and support for historically black colleges and universities.
In seeking to differentiate Mr. Trump from Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, Scott urged voters to "look at [Biden's] actions, look at his policies, look at what he already did and did not do while he's been in Washington for 47 years."
Scott also warned that Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, his running mate, "will turn our country into a socialist utopia" if elected in November.
While Scott urged voters to take a hard look at Biden's record, including his comments on Black people and his work on the 1994 crime bill, he also encouraged Americans to view the upcoming election as more than a race between Biden and Mr. Trump.
"It's about the promise of America," he said. "It's about you and me, our challenges and heartbreaks, hopes and dreams."
Haley, too, said that come November, voters must "choose the only candidate who has and will continue delivering" on the vision of the U.S. where children have equal access to education, entrepreneurship thrives and people are free to worship without fear.
"President Trump and Vice President Pence have my support," she said.
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, recalled working with Mr. Trump in her capacity representing the U.S. at the United Nations and said under his leadership, "we did what Barack Obama and Joe Biden refused to do, we stood up for America and we stood against our enemies."
"This president has a record of strength and success. The former vice president has a record of weakness and failure," she said. "Joe Biden is good for Iran and ISIS, great for communist China, and he's a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologize, abstain, and abandon our values."
Haley and Scott were among Republican lawmakers, activists and everyday Americans who addressed voters on the first night of the Republican National Convention. The gathering will continue to Thursday and culminate in Mr. Trump's speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination, for which he wasearlier Monday.
Full text: Former Ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley's remarks
Good evening. It is great to be back at the Republican National Convention.
I'll start with a little story. It's about an American Ambassador to the United Nations. And it's about a speech she gave to this convention. She called for the re-election of the Republican President she served… And she called out his Democratic opponent… a former vice president from a failed administration.
That ambassador said, and I quote, "Democrats always blame America first." The year was 1984. The president was Ronald Reagan. And Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick's words are just as true today.
Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America first. Donald Trump has always put America first. He has earned four more years as President.
It was an honor of a lifetime to serve as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Now, the U.N. is not for the faint of heart. It's a place where dictators-murderers-&-thieves denounce America… and then put their hands out and demand that we pay their bills.
Well, President Trump put an end to all that. With his leadership, we did what Barack Obama and Joe Biden refused to do. We stood up for America… and we stood against our enemies.
Obama and Biden let North Korea threaten America. President Trump rejected that weakness, and we passed the toughest sanctions on North Korea in history.
Obama and Biden let Iran get away with murder and literally sent them a plane full of cash. President Trump did the right thing and ripped up the Iran nuclear deal.
Obama and Biden led the United Nations to denounce our friend and ally, Israel. President Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem – and when the U.N. tried to condemn us, I was proud to cast the American veto.
This President has a record of strength and success. The former Vice President has a record of weakness and failure. Joe Biden is good for Iran and ISIS… great for Communist China... and he's a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologize, abstain, and abandon our values.
Donald Trump takes a different approach. He's tough on China, and he took on ISIS and won. And he tells the world what it needs to hear.
At home, the President is the clear choice on jobs and the economy. He's moved America forward, while Joe Biden held America back.
When Joe was VP, I was governor of the great state of South Carolina. We had a pretty good run. Manufacturers of all kinds flocked to our state from overseas, creating tens of thousands of American jobs. People were referring to South Carolina as "the beast of the southeast," which I loved.
Everything we did happened in spite of Joe Biden and his old boss.
We cut taxes. They raised them. We slashed red tape. They piled on more mandates.
And when we brought in good-paying jobs, Biden and Obama sued us. I fought back… and they gave up.
A Biden-Harris administration would be much, much worse. Last time, Joe's boss was Obama… this time, it would be Pelosi, Sanders, and the Squad. Their vision for America is socialism. And we know that socialism has failed everywhere.
They want to tell Americans how to live… and what to think. They want a government takeover of health care. They want to ban fracking and kill millions of jobs. They want massive tax hikes on working families.
Joe Biden and the socialist left would be a disaster for our economy. But President Trump is leading a new era of opportunity.
Before Communist China gave us the coronavirus, we were breaking economic records left and right. The pandemic has set us back, but not for long. President Trump brought our economy back before, and he will bring it back again.
There's one more important area where our President is right. He knows that political correctness and "cancel culture" are dangerous and just plain wrong.
In much of the Democratic Party, it's now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country.
This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small southern town. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a brown girl in a black and white world.
We faced discrimination and hardship. But my parents never gave in to grievance and hate. My mom built a successful business. My dad taught 30 years at a historically black college. And the people of South Carolina chose me as their first minority and first female governor.
America is a story that's a work in progress. Now is the time to build on that progress, and make America even freer, fairer, and better for everyone. That's why it's tragic to see so much of the Democratic Party turn a blind eye toward riots and rage.
The American people know we can do better. And of course we know that every single black life is valuable.
The black cops who've been shot in the line of duty – they matter. The black small business owners who've watched their life's work go up in flames – they matter. The black kids who've been gunned down on the playground – their lives matter too. And their lives are being ruined and stolen by the violence on our streets.
It doesn't have to be like this. It wasn't like this in South Carolina five years ago. Our state came face-to-face with evil. A white supremacist walked into Mother Emanuel Church during Bible Study. Twelve African Americans pulled up a chair and prayed with him for an hour. Then he began to shoot.
After that horrific tragedy, we didn't turn against each other. We came together – black and white, Democrat and Republican. Together, we made the hard choices needed to heal – and removed a divisive symbol, peacefully and respectfully.
What happened then should give us hope now. America isn't perfect. But the principles we hold dear are perfect. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America.
It's time to keep that blessing alive for the next generation. This President, and this Party, are committed to that noble task.
We seek a nation that rises together, not falls apart in anarchy and anger. We know that the only way to overcome America's challenges is to embrace America's strengths.
We are striving to reach a brighter future…
Where every child goes to a world-class school, chosen by their parents…
Where every family lives in a safe community with good jobs…
Where every entrepreneur has the freedom to achieve and inspire…
Where every believer can worship without fear and every life is protected…
Where every girl and boy, every woman and man, of every race and religion, has the best shot at the best life.
In this election, we must choose the only candidate who has and who will continue delivering on that vision. President Trump and Vice President Pence have my support.
And America has our promise. We will build on the progress of our past and unlock the promise of our future. That future starts when the American people re-elect President Donald Trump.
Thank you. Good night. And may God always bless America.
Full text: South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's remarks
To all of you tuning in and participating in the political process, God bless you.
This isn't how I pictured tonight, but our country is experiencing something none of us envisioned.
From a global pandemic, to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, 2020 has tested our nation in ways we haven't seen for decades.
But regardless of the challenges presented to us…every four years…Americans come together to vote…To share stories of what makes our nation strong, and the lessons we have learned that can strengthen it further for our children and grandchildren.
Because while this election is between Donald Trump and Joe Biden…it is not solely about Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
It's about the promise of America. It's about you and me…our challenges and heartbreaks, hopes and dreams.
It's about how we respond when tackling critical issues like police reform…when Democrats called our work a token effort, and walked out of the room during negotiations because they wanted the ISSUE more than they wanted a solution.
Do we want a society that breeds success, or a culture that cancels everything it even slightly disagrees with?
I know where I stand, because you see, I am living my mother's American Dream.
My parents divorced when I was 7 years old. We lived in a two bedroom house with my grandparents…me, my mom and my brother sharing a room and a bed. My mom worked 16 hours a day to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.
She knew that if we could find the opportunity, bigger things would come.
I thought I had to use football to succeed in life…and my focus on academics faded away. I failed my freshman year of high school – four subjects…Spanish, English, world geography, and civics.
Trust me, after spending 7 years in the Senate, I know I'm not the only one in Congress who failed civics.
But even while I was failing the 9th grade… my mother always said, "when you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will be among the stars." She never lost faith in me, even when I lost faith in myself. Because of her encouragement, I went to summer school and caught up.
The next year I met my mentor, John Moniz…a Chick Fil-a operator. John saw something in me that I could not see in myself, and started teaching me valuable lessons in life…
Like, having a job was a good thing, but creating jobs would be better. That having an income could change my lifestyle, but creating a profit could change my community!
He planted the seeds of what would become Opportunity Zones – this initiative the President and I worked together on is bringing over 75 billion dollars of private sector investment into distressed communities.
I took those lessons to heart…and started putting the pieces of my life together. I realized a quality education is the closest thing we have to magic in America.
That's why I fight to this day for school choice…to make sure every child, in every neighborhood has a quality education.
I don't care if it's a public, private, charter, virtual or home school.
When a parent has a choice, their kid has a better chance. And the President has fought alongside me on that.
Later in life, I started my own successful small business. That's why I know it is critical for us to have a tax code that encourages growth.
We actually saw revenues to the Treasury increase after we lowered taxes in 2017. Rest assured, Democrats do not want you to know that!
After starting my business and spending time in local government, I ran for Congress in 2010. The district is based in Charleston, South Carolina…where the Civil War started…against a son of our legendary Senator, Strom Thurmond.
You may be asking yourself how does a poor black kid…from a single parent household…run and win a race in a crowded Republican primary against a Thurmond?
Because of the evolution of the heart, in an overwhelmingly white district... the voters judged me on the content of my character, not the color of my skin.
We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news… racially, economically and culturally-polarizing news.
The truth is, our nation's arc always bends back towards fairness. We are not fully where we want to be…but thank God we are not where we used to be!
We are always striving to be better...When we stumble, and we will, we pick ourselves back up and try again.
We don't give into cancel-culture, or the radical -- and factually baseless -- belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s.
We have work to do...but I believe in the goodness of America…the promise that all men, and all women are created equal.
And if you're watching tonight, I'm betting you do, too.
Over the past four years, we have made tremendous progress towards that promise.
President Trump built the most inclusive economy ever. 7 million jobs created pre-COVID-19, two thirds of which went to women, African-Americans and Hispanics.
The first new, major effort to tackle poverty in a generation – Opportunity Zones. We put hard earned tax dollars back in people's pockets by cutting their taxes, especially for single parent households like the one I grew up in - cutting single mother's taxes 70% on average.
President Trump supported these tax cuts for those single moms, and other working families, and signed these policies into law...and our nation is better off for it.
So, I'm going to ask you…the American people…not to look simply at what the candidates say...but to look back at what they've done.
This election is about your future, and it's critical to paint a full picture of the records of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Joe Biden said if a black man didn't vote for him, he wasn't truly black.
Joe Biden said black people are a monolithic community.
Joe Biden said poor kids can be just as smart as white kids.
And while his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level.
In 1994, Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of black Americans behind bars...
President Trump's criminal justice reform law fixed many of the disparities Biden created and made our system more fair and just for all Americans.
Joe Biden failed our nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities... heaping blame on them as they fought to ensure our young folks had access to higher education.
Once again, to clean up Joe Biden's mess, President Trump signed into law historically high funding for HBCUs, as well as a bill to give them permanent funding for the first time ever!
And now, Joe Biden wants to come for your pocketbooks.... Unless you're a blue state millionaire.
I'm serious – that's one of their solutions for the pandemic. They want more money you're your pocket…going to help Manhattan elites and Hollywood moguls get a tax break.
Republicans, however, passed President Trump's once-in-a-generation tax reform bill that lowered taxes for single moms, working families and those in need.
So, when it comes to what Joe Biden says he'll do...Look at his actions. Look at his policies. Look at what he already did and did not do while he's been in Washington for 47 years.
Ladies and gentlemen, people don't always see those failures, because they think we're having a policy debate on two sides of an issue.
That is not what is happening.
Our side is working on policy – while Joe Biden's radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American.
Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America.
If we let them…they will turn our country into a socialist utopia…and history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hard-working people hoping to rise.
Instead, we must focus on the promise of the American journey. I know that journey well.
My grandfather's 99th birthday would have been tomorrow. Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming. He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton, and never learned to read or write.
Yet, he lived to see his grandson become the first African American to be elected to both the United States House and Senate.
Our family went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime. And that's why I believe the next American century can be better than the last.
There are millions of families like mine across this nation...full of potential seeking to live the American Dream.
And I'm here tonight to tell you that supporting the Republican ticket gives you the best chance of making that dream a reality.
God Bless you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.